[It was noted that I should fill in the blanks from my previous attempt. This is both an attempt at working things through and trying to write a narrative for others to follow.]
One of the hardest things anyone can do for any person is sacrifice something they believe in or truly want to do so that the other person can be happy. Yesterday I had to lay my head down on the guillotine again by writing to someone who might have just deleted the message without a moment’s hesitation. It wasn’t about blame or redemption, not about answers or other questions; it was about trying to get someone something they desperately need, help.
It’s been a little over a year since we found out she was pregnant. She couldn’t talk about it, I on the other hand wanted to tell everyone I saw. It didn’t matter who, I was just that happy. I gave up talking to my friends about this because she asked. One friend had told me I was positively glowing the weekend after I learned, but had yet to share with anyone my new joy. They had a feeling something was going on, something that just had me happy. I’m not much for running around, twirling people as if on some 1950’s musical; but that news had me there. I couldn’t help spilling the beans to a friend at a wedding a couple of weeks later. I wanted the world to know about this little girl. Her mom was scared.
Scared of how her family would take the news. Scared how she was going to deal with things considering she had separate medical issues to concern her. Scared about what it meant, how she was going to do it all. To me those were normal fears, nothing that couldn’t be worked on. For her they became paralyzing. Even sitting her down with friends who truly only wanted to help, cared about us both; it just wasn’t enough. She needed something more, something different.
My relationship of over 10 years may be over and irretrievable, but I still need to ensure that she is getting the best help she can under circumstances that I neither understand or are able to assist in. That meant going to her parents and giving them details to painful events and hoping they already knew the information. Hoping that they were aware and able to help my now ex in dealing with her own pain and grief. It may have fallen on deaf ears, but it had to be done. I never thought I would find myself at 42 years old having so many voices inside my relationship. The closeness she has with her family, the need for their approval, overrode her desire to be who she wanted to be. Turning to them, hoping they could help her find whatever it is that has been missing was harder than I thought. Never knowing if they read the words I wrote them, not knowing if they believed any of it. I know that having borrowed money from them, only to not be able to pay it back added stress. I know her mother demanding answers to things that were none of her concern added to the stress. I acknowledge my role in her pain, I wonder if they know their role? I wonder if they even recognize it? She’s 36 and is treated like she’s a teenager, and reacts like one some times.
The trauma of having lost our only child has been debilitating, but for her there may be more to the story than I am aware. Details that have been hidden, facts that I might never know. But at this point, my loss is for a child I never got to know. Was it a miscarriage or something darker? My therapist has said I am going to continue looking for the answers until I am satisfied for myself. But I can’t ask her in any more direct a manner than saying “I think something more happened that day, I really need to know so that I can stop beating myself up. Stop questioning what I might have done to save either of you from this.” If only I had been able to be in the hospital when this was going on, a very simple question would be answered. “Was she so depressed that she aborted our child and couldn’t handle telling me the truth?” Simple words, but the path it leads down is fraught with some serious pain.
Every thing I have read talks about how a baby at 26/27 weeks gestation is viable, can be saved in the right circumstance just hurts. Was there something wrong the doctor’s couldn’t find? Did I miss something? All those thoughts went out the window because I worried about her in the present, and less about what might have been. She was the focus, and as much as I cried in the corner when she wasn’t in the room, we didn’t talk about it. Now they are questions I am asked by the person I pay to help me sort through the pain, misery, sadness, sorrow, GUILT!
For a while things were quiet, no drama. Just lots of pain. And silence.
We once met on a Saturday afternoon to walk around the park and talk after having run our separate errands, only to bump into her parents. Not wanting to be found with me, since her parents and I were in disagreement over a few things; she dove under the dashboard of my car. Her car, next to my car which has vanity plates was a dead giveaway as to who and what was going on. It made me laugh. The absurd nature of it all was just ridiculous. She ran to her parent’s house to be punished. For the next week I heard nothing from her.
When it all fell apart the first time with that park incident in March, my first and only concern was getting her surrounded by people who would care for her. Help her deal with how her life had changed. Help her see that she was going to be loved no matter what. I gave up on seeking help from friends because I wanted them to concentrate on her. Make her the same priority that I was making her. For me, her getting help over-rode any sense I had in getting help for myself. I sacrificed myself so that she could be made whole again. I only asked they let me know she was okay, nothing more. Don’t tell me anything about what is said, it’s not my intent to have you report back.
We found a way to get back some sense of normalcy. It wasn’t easy, there were still arguments about her not being around as much. Not telling me everything that was important to us. Her absence wasn’t making my heart grow stronger, it was poisoning our relationship. At the very times when I needed her around, she couldn’t be. It stopped being about the times we were together, it became about the too often times we were apart. We stopped talking about how to fix things, only that they needed to be fixed. My invitations to join my therapy group were politely passed on. Her talking about my going to her therapy session were questioned because I didn’t want to intrude on something I thought should be a safe place for her. That was a mistake. What I took for a question might have been “when would you like to go with me to my appointment?” Sometimes we just don’t hear properly.
There’s a voicemail message resting on my phone that remains unheard. September 11th, 2014. It could be anything, it was right before she sent that final text asking for me to leave her be. To not try to contact her. I fear that unheard message. Hearing someone tell you just days before they cut off contact that they love you and miss you is terrifying. I let someone else hear the message and they told me to hold onto it. That at some point I will want to hear it. Not because it explains anything, only that it is something they think I will want in the future.
Knowing that she got sick on the 12th, asking me whether or not I wanted to take care of her. Of course I wanted to help her. Hold her hand while she lay on the couch, lay in bed, sit up and just rest. If only she would let me help, let me be there. In some way understand that I wanted her to count on me the way I counted on her. Spending the 15th in the hospital with her, getting scare when they said she might need to stay overnight and she refused. She didn’t want her family knowing I was the one who took her there. Taking her to the doctor the next day so that she wouldn’t be alone. Writing a panicked letter to her friends saying that I didn’t know how to help her. Didn’t know what I could do, please help me!
My panic attacks started on the 21st! I couldn’t get through the day without talking to some mental health professional just to get my mind empty. Three days of phoning my therapist didn’t make things work. The very worry of it all had me spending some time in the hospital trying to gather my thoughts. I hadn’t slept in days, wasn’t eating, found myself with a kidney infection and to top it all off I kept hearing voices in my mind telling me that I should just end it all. Being told you can’t leave because some doctor worries that you might hurt yourself, having them call your family to tell them you can’t leave; that’s closing in on rock bottom.
Every day had been filled with trying to ensure she is safe. I don’t know what that means anymore. It could be many things. I don’t know if she still goes to work. I don’t know if she is physically well. All I want to do is help her. She is worth that to me, putting all effort into making sure she is safe, loved, happy. It may sound weird to others, but I still don’t talk to the friends around here so that she might have the opportunity to do so. The ability to feel safe, surrounded by loved and cherished friends. I can’t give her much anymore, but I can do that for her. Sacrifice everything for her so that she has the ability to be safe.
If she were somehow to contact me, I’d drop everything to hear what she had to say. Sit and listen to whatever made her reach out to me after these past 6 weeks. Let her know that she is worth every bit of grief, that I value the person she wants to be. Not some version that fits a pretty picture, but helping her find herself. Her place in the world.
Grief counselling, it helps. Too bad there is just so much of it to deal with. I wish we had been able to do it together, maybe it could have saved us both. I will love her with my dying breath, both her and our daughter.